Cardinals Pitching News from Jupiter: 03/11

St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan spoke with the press prior to Tuesday's game. Bonus quotes from skipper Tony La Russa are included.

Duncan's key points:

Friday's starter is TBD. Could be Clayton Mortensen.

Kyle McClellan and Mike Parisi would have been considered, but they won't be available due to their throwing schedule. The latter two are still on a starters program and Duncan still considers them rotation candidates to begin the season. Later in the spring, McClellan could be considered for a relief role, too, but Parisi will remain a starter exclusively, says the pitching coach.

In the Intersquad game Tuesday morning, Brad Thompson threw three simulated innings at 20 pitches and Parisi did four innings at 15 pitches. Brad's next day to pitch is Sunday the 16th.

Duncan considers Brad "a known quantity." The reason he pitched in the Intersquad game was to work on his breaking ball and change up. Duncan said, "It was his best breaking ball all spring." Thompson was upbeat after pitching, but like the rest of us, does not know his ultimate role. "I just pitch when they tell me to. I don't want to get upset about things as much as I did before," Thompson said.

Duncan was candid about the starting situation. He acknowledged that there is a good chance that we won't know all five starters going into the last week of Spring Training. In response to a direct question, Duncan said this: "I would be lying if I wasn't concerned about it (the rotation), but I am as sure (as heck) not panicking."

He acknowledged that it "would be difficult for (Tuesday's starter) Todd Wellemeyer not to be in the rotation."

Anthony Reyes is still on "my (rotation) schedule (for the regular season)", says Duncan. "I want to see him pitch." Reyes will start on Wednesday after missing Sunday's outing due to a case of the flu.

He wants "two guys in the bullpen who can give innings." (see McClellan above?)

Matt Clement will increase his pitch count next bullpen outing, but there is no schedule for him to appear in games yet. Duncan admits it isn't where he expected to be coming into camp: "The only real surprise (this spring) is Clement. I assumed he would be far enough along to be in the rotation when the season starts."

On free agent and former Cardinals starting pitcher Jeff Weaver: "I don't think he'd be a fit here… I'd rather put McClellan out there." Duncan repeated more than once that he wants "guys with upside".

Bonus coverage from Carpenter
Chris Carpenter did his long toss to warm up on Monday and followed that with a 20-pitch session with a catcher in the crouch. "Everything was good… It was fun to be out there," the rehabbing ace said.

…and more from the skipper
On Joel Pineiro, who had shoulder tightness and had a precautionary MRI on Monday: "Twice he had to shut down his throwing because he got tight… About the time we get concerned, the MRI reports come out with nothing. So, it is no longer an issue. We are optimistic again. It didn't show anything other than some tightness or whatever. It's tough to get loose, but hopefully with a good strengthening and conditioning program, he will be all right… He's been in a holding pattern for a couple of days, but has now been given the green light to do his exercises. I am not sure when his throw is… He can't go too slowly or he'll lose what he has (conditioning)," said La Russa.

La Russa's comments on comments about the season
The manager discussed Adam Wainwright's recent comments that the team isn't just trying to hold on until the injured starters return. "I just talked to Adam about his comments about what we intend to do when we get our pitching back. I am not saying ‘treading water'. I said ‘stay in contention'. That is a big difference. Treading water is just not embarrassing yourselves. Staying in contention means you've got a chance to win. I think there is an impression the way a couple of the stories have been written almost like we are saying ‘let's just not get buried'," La Russa explained.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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